Senator Manny Pacquiao has filed a resolution to formally ask the Senate to investigate the alleged failure of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to distribute P10.4 billion worth of Social Amelioration Program funds or “aid.”
“There is an urgent need to look into this anomaly to untangle the web of corruption involving DSWD and Starpay, which has robbed our people of economic resources and denuded the government of its basic capacity to provide a lifeline to the vulnerable segment of the society that has been hit the hardest by the current pandemic,” Pacquiao said in Senate Resolution 779.
Earlier, Pacquiao questioned DSWD’s use of the Starpay e-wallet service to distribute aid because it was still necessary to download its app or application to receive and obtain aid.
But according to Pacquiao, of the estimated 1.8 million people who should be assisted, only 500,000 have downloaded the Starpay application.
“This means around 1.3 million projected beneficiaries were unable to download the said e-wallet application and therefore could not have electronically received through Starpay the subsidy amounting to P10.4 billion earmarked for them. However, records from the DSWD show that all of these payouts have already been completed,” Pacquiao explained in the resolution.
P10-B aid allegedly not distributed by DSWD – Pacquiao
It has previously denied the accusation that there was an irregularity in the aid.
“All aid distributed is supported by liquidation reports that can be shared, if necessary. The agency ensures that the processes adopted by FSPs (financial service providers) on payouts are in accordance with BSP (Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas)-approved processes and existing government accounting rules and procedures,” said DSWD.
DSWD added that they had ended using FSPs, including Starpay, and in April 2021, they undertook a manual distribution of financial assistance to unpaid second tranches.
The agency is also prepared to face any investigation.
As of July 2, 2021, the DSWD said that 14.88 million low-income families had received the second tranche of assistance comprising P89.8 billion in funds distributed.
Meanwhile, P98 billion was distributed to more than 17 million low-income families who received the first tranche of aid.